Latest Blog Posts

LPSDO is Up in Smoke

May 31, 2011 at 1:45pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

The local Tea Party’s prayers were answered yet again. Not long after a local porn shop went up in flames, Lincoln Public Schools District Offices followed suit. Area libraries and public health centers better check their insurance policies.

In all seriousness, the loss of LPSDO is a Very Bad Thing™. No backup plan can account for the loss of an entire administrative facility. And even if there were some sort of magical plan to mitigate a disaster of these proportions, no plan ever proceeds flawlessly. Poor Superintendent Joel is going to earn every penny of his paycheck in 2011. And 2012. And then some.

While browsing news of the fire one question leapt out at me: why did the building that houses LPS’s most valuable non-human assets—data—not have a fire suppression system? That’s not an accusation, mind you, nor is it rhetorical. It seems like a pretty big oversight, but it’s such a substantial oversight I can’t help but think it was deliberate.

It’s going to take a long, long time for this loss to fully sink in. There will be good news (“the computer backups worked!”) and bad news (”...but the last update was three years ago”). My one suggestion for LPS is to be very upfront and honest about everything. They could, for example, start a blog and give a small team of people free reign to publish updates on ... well ... everything. I know I for one would appreciate that.

And by the way, I’m going to stop commenting on the status of buildings. Yesterday afternoon as I drove down O Street I commented to The Missus that LPSDO was a pretty bleh building. Fewer than twelve hours later ... poof. But my record isn’t all bad. Several weeks back I commented on the former Homer’s building right next door to LPSDO, and the next day it was announced that the building would receive a full remodel.

Where in Lincoln is this?

May 30, 2011 at 2:02pm By: Mr. T Posted in The Lincolnite Blog


Happy Memorial Day all!

EDIT: Solved!


Our Annual Friday Night Tradition

May 27, 2011 at 1:10pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

A reminder that if you happen to stop by the Friday night concert series at Southpointe this summer, be sure to look me up and say hi. My family and I attend most of the concerts throughout the summer, including tonight’s appearance by D’Funk, weather permitting. We typically sit in the grassy area south of the stage, over by Pier One.

We also hit up many of Lincoln’s other summer concerts (Jazz in June, Stransky Park) and hot spots, so if you see us around come on over and say howdy. Or ‘sup, or whatever your greeting of choice happens to be.

Public Safety Director Casady

May 27, 2011 at 12:55pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

I’m generally a fan of Lincoln Police Chief Tom Casady, so it’s difficult not to be happy that he appears to be on his way to becoming LIncoln’s first public safety director. The role would oversee both the Lincoln Police Department and Lincoln Fire & Rescue. There’s a press conference set for 9:00am today.

My first question about this to Mayor Beutler, however, is rather pointed: Why are we creating a new position for which there is questionable need, no demand, and zero money? I’m sure the press conference will (attempt to) answer some of that, but I don’t expect to come away satisfied after that sort of canned appearance. Unless, that is, local media actually do their job instead of helpfully parroting the City’s talking points, which I can’t fathom happening. (Was that too sharp for a Friday morning? I’m cranky because one of my boys called reveille at 5:00am.)

I’m ever so tempted to continue, but I just don’t feel comfortable speculating at this point. I’ll keep my yap shut—er, fingers tied?—until after the press conference. But you, dear readers, may feel free to speculate and rant at will. And check in later today to see if I’ve had a chance to formulate any further thoughts based on today’s developments.

The Ditches of College View

May 26, 2011 at 2:00pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

I was a huge fan of the College View streetscape renovations when they were first completed. The new street, sidewalks, lights, and so forth looked fantastic! But one thing baffled me: what was with the ditches on the side of the road? No matter, I was sure they had a cool plan.

Well it’s springtime, and the plan for the ditches appears to be to let weeds take over and for water to pool up both in the ditches and on the street. That’s not quite what I expected.

It’s possible, I suppose, that the plan is to plant native grasses and such to populate the ditches. Maybe we’ll even see cattails. The effect could be pretty cool, in theory. Water running off the roads would be filtered by the plants rather than piped into the storm sewer system. I can dig that. If that’s where they’re headed, they’ve got a ways to go.

Speaking of College View, have you noticed the newly-woodchipped patches on various corners? What’s the deal there? They’re already covered in weeds! Today they look bad; without some sort of major intervention they’re going to look downright godawful within a couple weeks. As with the ditches, I hope there’s some sort of marvelous plan that just isn’t visible yet. If not ... yeesh.

No Old Folks in My Backyard

May 25, 2011 at 2:00pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

What is it with people and their fear of nursing homes (last item, “Not in my backyard”)? The objection over a “memory home”—a euphemism for a nursing home devoted to Alzheimers and dementia care—at 27th and Wilderness Hills Blvd. is just plain silly. Neighbors’ complaints include:

  • Traffic problems. Apparently area residents are extreme optimists. Have you ever spent much time in an Alzheimers care facility? Nobody wants to go there. Any traffic problems will be limited to vehicles driving extremely slowly while turning into the facility and vehicles speeding while driving away from it. Neighbors should be more concerned about how few visitors the residents get, not how many. (Which reminds me: I haven’t gone to see my grandmother in a long time.)
  • Reduced home values. Maybe, but I can’t imagine the effect will be measurable compared to the fact that there are a large shopping center and two major arterials within spitting distance. If you were shopping for a house, which would your eyes be more drawn to as a source of problems: a quiet, residential, home-like facility; or a Kohl’s?
  • Wandering elderly people. I’m starting to think the neighbors are toying with us. This isn’t The Simpsons, for Pete’s sake! Senile old people don’t just escape and terrorize the neighborhood. Well ... I suppose they could, but not in any sort of well-run facility. Every Alzheimers facility I’ve been in has been locked down so tightly it’s almost depressing.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: nursing homes and similar facilities are harmless neighbors which, if they’re doing it right, should be welcomed as neighborhood assets rather than greeted with pitchforks and torches. I happen to live near two such facilities. In fact, my two youngest boys go to Homestead every Wednesday to play with the residents. The residents love having the boys around, and the boys are learning some wonderful lessons via intergenerational interactions.

I understand some cases of nimbyism (even though I often don’t agree with them). But this ... this is just silly. The complainers need to take some time to think about who is actually harming the neighborhood.

What Good is an Unenforced Law?

May 24, 2011 at 1:50pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

The City Council is leaning toward passing a new ordinance that would require all landlords—rather than the current subset—to be responsible for trash pick-up at rental properties. That sounds reasonable enough. But oddly, the City is going around advertising that they don’t plan to enforce the law. That’s ... odd.

Or rather it’s troubling. The general idea isn’t so awful. The City doesn’t want to harm landlords who have already signed leases with tenants under the assumption that the tenants are responsible for trash pick-up. By the strict letter of the law, the landlords would have to eat the cost of trash pick-up until they could get a fresh lease signed. The City’s position is that they’ll only go after landlords if their tenants are deadbeats. Fair enough.

Yet it invites trouble that’s really not necessary. It puts landlords in conflict with tenants who know the new law and therefore refuse to pay for trash pick-up. That, in turn, creates headaches for the City, which has to come in and be the enforcer. The law creates confusion on its own; the City’s stated intent to perform patchwork enforcement is even more confusing. Since we’re dealing with less-than-stellar tenants and landlords, confusion is not going to turn out well for the community as a whole.

The matter could be resolved fairly simply, if imperfectly, by amending the ordinance so that landlords become responsible for trash on leases signed on or after the date the law goes into effect. To prevent shenanigans, the amendment may state that the law applies to everyone—regardless of lease terms—on a date 6, 12, 15, 18, or even 24 months after the law’s effective date. The downside, of course, is that we have to wait a little longer for some of these issues to be sorted out.

Am I on the right track?

Add One to the List

May 23, 2011 at 1:30pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

I’m sure we could make one heck of a Lincolnite bucket list if we wanted to. Here’s an entry that ought to be on there: spend an hour on Holmes Lake Dam on a morning like this, and another hour on a comparable evening. It’s beautiful, and gloriously peaceful. The thing that always gets me is how many birds—and how many different kinds of birds—are out there. I’m no birdwatcher but it’s easy to appreciate the variety, especially since the primary visitors to my yard seem to be mourning doves and starlings.

I see tonight’s forecast looks pleasant. Hint hint.

Where in Lincoln is this?

May 23, 2011 at 12:55pm By: Mr. T Posted in The Lincolnite Blog


EDIT: Sadly, unsolved.


Crossword Clues

May 20, 2011 at 12:45pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

It’s a dark and rainy Friday. What better time to have some fun with a little game?

Below are a series of crossword-style clues. How many answers can you figure out?

  1. Home of everybody’s favorite tiger beetle. (14 letters)
  2. A squeaking noise made by certain ungulates? (13 letters)
  3. A rather elementary body of water. (10 letters)
  4. A lake perhaps named after a doorstop. (9 letters)
  5. A waterway worth its pay. (9 letters)
  6. Zombie road race. (11 letters)
  7. The sower’s favorite sunning spot. (12 letters)
  8. Body of water with gutters? (11 letters)
  9. Underwear-covered limb? (12 letters)
  10. Where squirrels go fishing. (7 letters)

Feel free to add your own clues to go along with the theme!

(If you don’t want spoilers, be sure not to read the comments until you’re ready!)

You Know You’re Getting Older When…

May 19, 2011 at 12:50pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

...the little tyke named Vincent who accompanied his mother to track practices while you were training for the State Track Meet is now himself preparing to run at the State Track Meet. Yeesh, how time flies!

The photo of Vincent and Carol Moravec that accompanies that article shows the Lincoln Southeast track. I have to laugh a little bit at how nice the track is now. Back in my day it was a crappy cinder track ... and we liked it! Well, no we didn’t. But running on that track did teach us how to power through the turns. If you didn’t hold on tight you’d skid right off the track!

Best of luck to all the competitors at this weekend’s State Track Meet. The meet is a wonderful spectacle. If you haven’t ever been there, think about going to check it out sometime. In total I spent less than 8 minutes competing on that track back in 1996 and 1997, but those are 8 minutes I love to recall. Good times.

Is a Tax Increase Really a Surprise?

May 18, 2011 at 12:50pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

Deena Winter has pointed out that a local tax increase is all but certain in the very near future. What surprised me about her piece is that she suggests this will surprise some people, the LIBA crowd in particular.


I have a difficult time understanding how anybody who has paid any attention at all to Lincoln’s budget situation over the past few years could possibly be surprised by a potential tax increase. The writing has been on the wall for at least a year. If any of Beutler’s supporters are or were blind to that, shame on them!

Ms. Winter notes that the City budget was all but a non-issue during the recent election. She’s right, but don’t blame Chris Beutler for not bringing it up. It’s unsurprising that he would keep it as quiet as possible—any incumbent would do the same. Rather, it’s a testament to just how incompetent the Buffington campaign was that they couldn’t or wouldn’t make hay out of the issue. City Council candidates could have done a better job with it as well. And local media. And, well, all of us voters.

I don’t know if folks just don’t care, or if we’ve just resigned ourselves to the fact that it’s going to happen, or what. We’ve played this game for a few years now, after all. Perhaps budget fatigue has set in. Some of the cuts being threatened have been threatened many times. Are the villagers tired of Little Boy Beutler crying wolf?

Where do you fit into this picture? How about your family and friends?

...And Now I Train

May 17, 2011 at 12:50pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

Last night’s match-up of two unbeatens in the Class A Boys State Tournament final marked the end of my high school soccer season. After several years of hoping for an assignment as referee on a final, I finally got my shot this year. And what a fun match it was. The players, coaches—and heck, even the spectators for the most part—made it easy for me; they did their job, I did mine, and everybody got along great. Add in absolutely perfect weather and a full moon rising over the field and you’ve got a recipe for something pretty special. You can find additional coverage of the match from 10/11 (click the “High School Sports” tab), Omaha World-Herald, and Grand Island Independent.

Now what? Now I start training for a half-marathon. I plan to run the Lincoln Half Marathon next year for sure, but I may also add this fall’s Omaha race if things work out. I’ll probably pick up some other road races here and there as well.

My body is not built for distance. One challenge will be learning to deal with that. My largest challenge, however, is far more daunting. My body doesn’t deal well with heat. (That’s an understatement, by the way. My problem is significantly larger than “I sweat a lot”.) I need to find ways to deal with overheating and dehydration. Over the summer I plan to do a lot of experimentation with different approaches to minimizing the impact of the heat on my ability to, you know, live. If you see me passed out on the side of a bike trail, please kick me a couple times to check on me.

It’s probably too early to set concrete time goals for myself, but I can’t help thinking that it would be nice to break 90 minutes. That’s somewhere around a 6:50 pace. I’m way off that pace now so I have my work cut out for me. Even if I don’t make it, I’m looking forward to finding out some things about myself in the effort. And if I do make it ... well, I’ll be dang pleased.

Now that soccer season is over I hope to be able to get back to a better posting routine here on Lincolnite. I know I’ve slacked off a bit lately. Thanks for hanging in there with me!

The Rise of El Chaparro

May 16, 2011 at 12:55pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

I should probably know the answer to this, but when did El Chaparro open a third location on North 10th Street in the North Bottoms in the former George’s Red Pepper Grill location? That’s in addition to the original location at 13th and F, and the second location near North 48th and Leighton.

Whenever it happened, Mr. T and I had lunch there on Saturday. It was a spur-of-the-moment deal so we didn’t have a good camera to snap any photos. That’s unfortunate because the meal was quite picturesque. Mr. T ordered a

simple chicken burrito

chicken chimichanga. It was nothing fancy, but the dish gets bonus points for being topped with a glob of real guacamole—that is the stuff made with avocados, not that green sour cream posing as guac that you find at some restaurants.

I ordered the cinco tacos. Being the indecisive sort I asked for one of each kind of available meat: hamburger, chorizo, chicken, barbacoa, and lengua. I went into the meal planning to eat a light lunch of two or three of the tacos, saving the rest for later. I ate all five. They were fantastic, and at six bucks you aren’t going to find a better deal very often.

El Chaparro isn’t the sort of place you go for fancy environs or five-star service. All I ask from these simple restaurants is that service be adequate and friendly. It was, as it always has been on my trips to El Chaparro’s other locations. As for the atmosphere ... well, you read the part about it being in the old George’s building, right? That building is lucky to still be standing. Still, the restaurant is clean and simple with several clues that the restaurant is an unapologetically low-key affair. If the packaging bothers you, you’re probably better off sticking with the Morales restaurants (Las Margaritas, El Toro, et alia). But to my tastebuds El Chaparro’s food is better, and I value food over flair.

It hadn’t dawned on me until I started writing this that El Chaparro is slowly becoming less of an also-ran in Lincoln’s competitive field of Mexican restaurants. When they had a lone location at 13th and F they were pretty easy to forget about. But three locations? Surely that’s worth paying attention to. I doubt we’re looking at a DeLeon’s-style explosion any time soon, if ever. El Chaparro doesn’t have a mainstream sort of vibe to it. But if you like Mexican food and you’re willing to get off the beaten path, you’re running out of excuses not to stop by El Chaparro.

Where in Lincoln is this?

May 16, 2011 at 12:18pm By: Mr. T Posted in The Lincolnite Blog


EDIT: Solved!


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